Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
|17a. Black Hills Foothills||Level IV Ecoregion|
|Home||The Middle Rockies ecoregion
is characterized by individual mountain ranges of mixed geology interspersed
with high elevation, grassy parkland. The Black Hills are an outlier
of the Middle Rockies and share with them a montane climate, hydrography,
and land use pattern. Ranching and woodland grazing, logging, recreation,
and mining are common.
Two contrasting landscapes, the Hogback Ridge and the Red Valley (or Racetrack), compose the Black Hills Foothills ecoregion. Each forms a concentric ring around the mountainous core of the Black Hills (ecoregions l7b and 17c). Ponderosa pine cover the crest of the hogback and the interior foothills. Buffalo, antelope, deer, and elk still graze the Red Valley grasslands in Custer State Park.
Area (square miles): 900
Surficial Material and Bedrock
Order (Great Groups)
Precipitation - Mean annual (inches)
Potential Natural Vegetation
Ponderosa pine woodlands with grass understory of little bluestem, grama grasses, and leadplant. Some burr oak in the north and Rocky Mountain juniper in the south.
Land Use and Land Cover
Cattle grazing, ranching. Suburban development in the eastern Black Hills. Ponderosa pine savannah.